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Bento Recipes: Hunter's stew


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"To make rabbit stew, first catch a rabbit." To make hunter's stew, you'll have to start by doing some hunting. Hunt through your shelves and fridge for stuff to put in the stew. Canned corn, beans, peas. Carrots, celery, onions, scallions, mushrooms, squash, other vegetables. Water chestnuts. Potatoes. Some kind of meat. Noodles. Whatever looks good to you. It's best to have a variety of colors and textures, I think.

Cut up whatever needs cuttin' up and chunk it all into a stewpot. Add hot water to the desired volume. If you want to thicken the stew, throw in some rice or mashed potato mix. Add some chicken, beef, or vegetable bouillon - whichever is appropriate - to enrich the flavor of the broth. Add salt, pepper, and other spices as desired. Turn on the heat, bring it to a simmer, then turn it down and keep it simmering for a while. It's done when the meat is cooked and the potatoes, carrots, or any other hard veggie you've added are the right texture.

Simple and flexible, right? That's why I love this recipe. My typical pot of stew will include about 2/3 of the following:

  • canned green beans
  • canned peas
  • canned corn
  • canned kidney beans
  • canned bamboo shoots
  • canned water chestnuts
  • celery
  • carrots
  • scallions
  • salad mushrooms
  • potatoes (red or russet)
  • beef or chicken (dark meat preferred for chicken for the richer taste)
  • 4 cubes of bouillon
  • rice

If I'm going to freeze portions of the stew, I leave out the potatoes and rice, as freezing and thawing those give them a mushy, unpleasant texture.

If you end up with more broth than you like, I recommend using it to make couscous.